Category Archives: Trains

Recently Read: Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage

I have just finished reading Adam Savage’s book “Every Tool’s a Hammer” (ISBN 9781471186004). It was a thoroughly entertaining and informative read and I highly recommend it.

The section on lists particularly resonated with me. I use a similar system at work: an empty box indicates a yet to be started task, a box with a line through it a task that has been started in some form and a filled in box indicates a completed task.

However my favourite part was a new word I learned – ferroequinologist!

N Gauge Layout MkV

Despite the software indicating that the siding (between the Loco Shed and the Controller) would be possible, in practice it was too tight.  Below is what the layout will now look like.

1200x400 N Gauge MkV
1200 x 400 mm N Gauge Layout MkV

N Gauge Layout MkIV

Below is the fourth design iteration of my small N Gauge layout.  I have replaced the two Peco engine sheds with a single Graham Farish pre-built unit.  This gives me more track space at the front and rear of the shed (the MkIII version was very crowded) and allows for the addition of a storage line down the side of the shed.

1200x400 N Gauge MkIV
1200 x 400 mm N Gauge Layout MkIV

N Gauge Layout MkII

I have made some modifications to my planned layout.  See the image below.  I have simplified the design and added a signal box.  Construction has commenced with Tasmanian Oak beams and plywood base.  The controller will be a Morley Controllers Vector Zero Two (rapidly becoming my favourite controller).

1200 x 400 mm N Gauge Layout MkII

Edit:  See below for a slightly modified “MkIII” design.  This is the design I have commenced construction on.

1200 x 400 mm N Gauge Layout MkIII

A belated update of sorts

So, it’s been a while since I posted a blog update.  Here goes:

  • I upgraded the RAM in my 13″ MacBook Pro from 4GB to 16GB (purchased from  The performance boost is nice.
  • The cubby house I am building for the kids is progressing well.  I am looking forward to the first round of bulk rubbish collections in the area for the year so I can stock up on some supplies (mainly Colorbond offcuts and wood).
  • The computer collection received two new additions – an SE/30 and a PowerMac 7600.  Both are used but came in their boxes including all peripherals, cables and documentation.  Two very nice Macs.
  • The N gauge model train collection and layouts are progressing well.  Recent additions include some old Graham Farish Class 43 HSTs, a new Dapol Class 58 and numerous rolling stock items.  I am in the process of planning a small 400 x 1200 mm layout as space in the Howell residence is becoming a little tight (see below for the planned layout).
400 x 1200 mm Layout Plan

  • I purchased an iPad Mini (16GB, WiFi+3G, White).  I am finding it a very convenient size.  This is my iPad, the children have claimed the other iPad (3rd Gen iPad, 16GB, WiFi, Black) for YouTube, ABC iView etc.

2011 WA AMRA Model Railway Exhibition

Once again this event crept up on us: surely 12 months haven’t elapsed since the last exhibition?  As usual I attended twice, once with my father-in-law and children on the Saturday and once with a friend (who is also into model railways) on the Sunday.  According to the brochure this is the 35th such exhibition.

While the number of exhibitors and vendors seemed the same as previous years the floor space had increased significantly (this year both the Robinson Pavilion and the Silver Jubilee Pavilion were used).  This was great news as it made navigating the crowds with small children a little easier.  Popular exhibits with the children included anything with Thomas the Tank Engine in it….

My favourite layout by a fair margin was “Avalon”, a British N gauge layout.  We saw this layout as a “work in progress” last year and were very impressed.  Running were a variety of steam and early diesel locomotives (mostly Graham Farish as far as I could tell).

Another highlight was the “Northern Districts Model Engineering” display.  This included a ride-on train that we all enjoyed and some fairly impressive large scale locomotives.

Study Rearrangement

I have just finished rearranging the study (again).  The motivation this time around was to make the model train layout more accessible to me (and the kids of course – Declan has been complaining he can’t see trains).  It now sits approximately one metre off the ground and (when I clear out some stuff) is accessible on three of the four sides (including both “long” sides).  The study is quite a high use room: anything of any value that we want to keep the kids from damaging tends to get stored here.  My laptop is in the study, as is Kylie’s G5 iMac, the printer, the ADSL modem and network switch and so on and so forth.  The study is now much easier to access and egress.
The only downside of the movements was that a track section switch on the train layout was destroyed by the door frame.  Thankfully I had a spare and was able to solder (with only minimal burning of flesh) a replacement in situ.